This Filipino Couple Will Fly for Food – and Now They Share Their Best Packing Tips

Will Fly For Food
JB and Renée

Hey everyone! We’re JB and Renée, the Traveleaters behind Will Fly for Food. We’re based in our native Philippines now, but we both spent a good portion of our lives in the US.

When we aren’t traveleating, I work as a location-independent graphic/web designer while Ren is a domestic engineer (aka housewife). I’m the quiet brooding type, who may be slightly allergic to people, while Ren is the life of the party. She does a mean version of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”. As they say, opposites attract.

Will Fly For Food

How and why did you get into traveling?

Having lived so long in the US, traveling was just something we got used to doing. I personally made that trans-Pacific trip once or twice a year for several years. I remember living out of my suitcase for several weeks at a time!

As far as traveling in our adult years, both of us relish experiences more than material possessions so travel is something that continues to appeal to us. I started our travel blog as a way of documenting our trips (and our life) together.

The idea of visiting new places and experiencing different cultures and food is extremely exciting. We enjoy trying new food so much that many of our travel decisions are based on how good a destination’s food is! If we’ve heard a lot of good things about a city’s food – whether through blogs or word of mouth – then chances are it’s on our radar.

Traveling calls for a certain level of healthfulness, especially when you enjoy eating as much as we do. Ren’s been much better at keeping fit than I have but I do recognize how important it is, especially in my middle-aged years. I intend to make drastic changes to my sleep and exercise routine in 2018.

Will Fly For Food

How do you finance your travels?

I’m a location-independent graphic/web designer but I still work 9-to-5 hours, often more. On busy months, I can work anywhere between 40-60 hours a week on commercial design work. I do travel blogging on the side as an escape. The combination of the two is a lot of work but I’ve been able to manage so far (sometimes barely and with much aggravation). But the stress does get to me at times which is why I’m planning on making significant changes to my routine in the coming year.

We have had a few sponsors but not as much as other travel bloggers. Part of it I think is because I haven’t been as aggressive about it. When I started our blog, it was to document our life together, not necessarily to turn it into a business. In fact, it took me several years before I finally decide to monetize it. I care very much about our blog so I still say no to a lot of things, things that I feel may compromise its integrity. Making money off our blog is nice, but it’s never been the priority. I guess having a full-time gig allows me the freedom to often make decisions with my heart, not my head, which I’m abundantly grateful for.

I’m also notoriously cheap! haha! I enjoy saving money so I make it my goal to save a certain amount every month. I don’t want to grind away forever so I make it a priority to set money aside for our future. We have a small plot of residential farmland that’s waiting for us when we retire.

With that said, I may be cheap in my everyday life but I’m not necessarily as cheap when we travel. I do go for budget airfare and inexpensive hotels but I have no qualms about spending money on good food and experiences. “Experiences not things” is my motto.

Why is traveling important for you?

It’s a cliché, but I truly believe that travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. The glitter of material possessions fades over time but memories from travel stay with you forever.

Will Fly For Food

How do you bring your things with you?

Ren and I are light packers so we typically share just one 20 kg bag between us. I know, amazing right? Only when we visit places that call for winter clothing do we bring one suitcase each. We don’t do much shopping when we travel so space is rarely a concern.

We were recently sent CabinZero 44L backpacks that I absolutely love. They’re sturdy travel backpacks designed to fit in an airplane’s overhead bin. It fits my Crumpler DSLR bag perfectly while still giving me plenty of room for other stuff. I adore this backpack and would highly recommend it to anyone.

Will Fly For Food

How do you organize things in your bags?

When Ren and I share just one suitcase, she has her side and I have mine. I tend to just throw my stuff in but Ren likes to arrange everything neatly to maximize space. She can’t help but rearrange my side as well. haha!

With that said though, I may not care too much about how I pack my clothes, but I care very much about how I pack my camera gear. Documenting content for our blog is extremely important to me so I’m very OCD about my camera bag. I check and recheck my equipment several times before a trip to make sure that everything is working properly and I haven’t forgotten anything. Nothing scares me more about a trip than not being able to take pictures and videos.

Because my camera bag houses all my equipment, it’s important to have a water resistant bag. We were caught in a torrential downpour in Malaysia once where I thought all my camera gear would be ruined. Luckily, they survived so that’s something I always plan for now. I bring a waterproof dry bag when there’s a heavy chance of rain or we’ll be riding a boat or something like that.

Will Fly For Food

How do your bags and gear hold up?

They hold up very well. I love my Crumpler and CabinZero bags. They’re both sturdily built and roomy. I have no complaints.

As far as my camera gear, my Canon 550D has seen better days. It still functions perfectly but it’s starting to fall apart – rubber coming off, battery door not shutting properly, etc. Not to mention that it’s technology is somewhat outdated now so I may have to upgrade soon.

Any gear you wish you had brought with you from the beginning?

I wish I had known about CabinZero earlier! I really do love this bag. Having such a roomy bag that I can bring with me on the plane is super convenient. Another thing I wish I had from the beginning is my PowerCube. It’s basically a power strip in the form of a compact cube. It saves a lot of time when charging batteries at night.

Will Fly For Food

What has been your best travel-related purchase below $100?

My PowerCube was an awesome purchase. I carry a lot of camera and video equipment which I have to charge every night. Believe it or not, we’ve stayed at hotels with just one or two outlets! Charging all my gear takes time so I sometimes find myself staying up waiting for one thing to finish charging so I can plug in the next. My PowerCube has 4 outlets and 2 USB jacks, allowing me to charge everything all at once. It’s such a timesaver, and compact too.

Another great purchase was my Joby GorillaPod. It’s a super light bendy tripod that doubles as a vlogging handle. I used to carry a much heavier tripod but I don’t anymore, thanks to this.

Will Fly For Food

What is your best advice for other travelers?

Pick up after yourselves, always be respectful, and never ever be entitled. When you travel, remember that you’re like a guest in someone else’s home. Be mindful of their customs and don’t think you can act any way you want just because you’re a tourist with money.

Nothing makes my blood boil more than hearing stories about disrespectful tourists like those “butt brothers” who recently bared their asses in front of Wat Arun and Wat Pho in Bangkok. This to me represents the ugly side of social media – people acting like buffoons just for a few likes on Instagram. It’s childish and annoying and just not worth it.

Will Fly For Food

What will the future bring?

We’re revisiting Taiwan, Indonesia, and Japan in 2018, as well as making a few domestic trips in the Philippines. We’re planning a big Euro trip in 2019 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Ren’s 30th birthday. Ha!

As far as our blog goes, you can expect better travel and food guides from us, as well as more video content. I’ll be taking a couple of domestic trips next year for the sole purpose of getting better at flying and taking video with my drone. It’s been underutilized at this point.

Visit JB and Renée on their website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


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